When I attend the large perfume expositions I see lots of brands trying to position themselves for the Middle Eastern market. There is a seemingly insatiable desire for fragrance in that part of the world. Sheikh Majed al-Sabah decided to go a different way. As part of his retail business he decided to create his own line of fragrance. In 2012 he debuted The Fragrance Kitchen in Kuwait. I had scant opportunity to try the line but there were chances to try a couple of them here and there. It was surprising to me not to find the typical ingredients associated with Middle Eastern perfumery in the ones I tried. Since I am not a Sheikh I did not expect to be visiting Kuwait anytime soon to try more than the few I had. Turns out I didn’t have to as The Fragrance Kitchen has come to me.
Sheikh Majed al-Sabah
In April of 2016 Sheikh al-Majed opened two US stores. One in New York City inside Bergdorf-Goodman and the other inside of Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. Along with this Sheikh al-Majed designed two city exclusive releases. A Rose with a View is the NYC one which captured his time in New York as he had a room with a view of Central Park and a vase of roses. The Beverly Hills inspired one is called Palm Fiction and is inspired by the famous Martinique wallpaper of palm leaves which decorates The Beverly Hills Hotel. I was again pleased that both of these perfumes were designed with Western tastes in mind.
A Rose with a View is a spicy rose upon a patchouli sandalwood foundation. It opens with a Turkish rose right away. The spicy nature of this kind of rose blends prettily with violet in the heart. The violet modulates the rose towards a fuller floral character. Sandalwood forms the base accord with patchouli. Some musk and amber round out the final stages. A Rose with a View has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Palm Fiction is the one which really grabbed me. In the summer I want something which is light but not necessarily the typical fresh cologne construct. Palm Fiction is that kind of fragrance as it carries a great warm-weather vibe without being insipid. A bit of pink pepper leads into a floral heart of iris, jasmine, and rose. This is a fantastically balanced accord of these three florals which can be so distinctive and overbearing most of the time. in Palm Fiction they are combined in such a way that they never outstay their welcome. It is an odd thing to write but they are refreshing in their presentation here. The base here is a mixture of white musks over more transparent sandalwood and patchouli. Palm Fiction has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Both of these first entrees for the American market have made me more interested to delve further into the brand because I am definitely interested to smell what the Sheikh is cooking.
Disclosure: this review was based on samples provided by Intertrade Europe.